November 15 2015

18.11.2015:"Licht-Reflektionen" :Talk of J. Dalibard

Lecture series “Licht-Reflektionen” for the International Year of Light


Jean Dalibard
Collège de France, Paris

Mittwoch, 18. November 2015, 17:30 Uhr
Campus E 2.2, Günter-Hotz-Hörsaal

Atoms cooled and controlled by light

Forty years ago appeared the idea that laser light could be used to reduce the thermal
motion of an atomic vapour. Since that date, the manipulation and the cooling of atomic
gases with laser light has undergone spectacular developments, which went far beyond
the most optimistic initial predictions. Light beams with well-chosen characteristics can
bring an atomic assembly down to a temperature of only a few nanokelvins above the
absolute zero.
The behaviour of theses cold gases is governed by Quantum Mechanics: The velocity
distribution of the atoms is dramatically reduced and their wavelength is increased
correspondingly, which allows one to realize atomic clocks and interferometric matterwave
sensors with an unprecedented precision. In addition, by concentrating these
atoms in a small volume one realizes a novel type of “quantum matter”, which
constitutes a simulator of other many-body systems, such as the electronic fluid of some
families of superconductors or of samples exhibiting the Quantum Hall effect.
In this talk I will briefly present the physical principles that are at the basis of the
cooling. I will then describe some recent developments, dealing either with precision
measurements at the single atom level or with collective phenomena related to
condensed matter physics. I will close with a short summary of the many perspectives
that are opened in this research field.

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